Date: April 20, 2021
TO: The NYU Community
FROM: NYU President Andrew Hamilton

Dear Members of the NYU Community,

This afternoon, a jury of Minnesotans convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin on all counts. It is an example of justice from a system that all too often delivers injustices, especially to people of color and the poor.

Around the country, today’s verdict was anxiously awaited. The doubt felt about the case’s outcome reflects the level of distrust in our legal system. And while this verdict may give us a sense of relief — that our courts can deliver justice — surely there is no sense of triumph: a man has been senselessly murdered, and unnecessary deaths of people of color at the hands of police continue to occur. Today’s verdict was a good step toward accountability, but we still have a long way to go.

I am an educator; it is my nature to be hopeful. So I hope that this case will continue to open eyes that have too long been closed. I hope it will help propel the difficult conversations and necessary progress that must be made in policing and criminal justice. I hope it will mark a real and lasting turning point in the struggle against racism and its legacies. I hope that the education that NYU has provided to our soon-to-be graduates will enable them to contribute to that great effort.

No matter how members of the NYU community choose to mark today’s court decision, I urge them to do so peacefully. Our traditions are based in learning, research, reason, and discourse, and it is through peace and purpose that we will properly honor George Floyd's death. And I urge us to help one another through the emotions and personal challenges of these difficult times — our Office of Global Inclusion offered a strong message to the community recently that lists many of the resources NYU offers to help in this challenging moment.

I know I speak for our entire community when I say that George Floyd’s family is in our thoughts, that we grieve with them, and that we hope today’s decision may serve as a harbinger of a more just future for all.

Andrew Hamilton